This week was very busy with school work, and I suspect it will only be getting busier from here on out. I knew this was coming and I’ve kind of been bracing myself for it.
Everyone has their own way that they respond when life gets busy. Some people become masterminds of time management, others constantly fight to fit in relaxation time, and then others start to drown in the chaos of their busy schedule.
I’ve been thinking this past week about habits that I’ve formed, habits for how I cope with the busyness of life and generally stressful situations. If you had asked me in high school what the number one thing that kept me relaxed was, I would have told you it was my quiet time.
Most people give me a weird look when I say the words ‘quiet time’. They have some kind of mental image of a young child in silent time-out or something. But my quiet time is something entirely different. It’s my time in the morning right after I wake up where I drink my coffee and listen to music while I read my Bible and journal. It became such a habit for me in high school that if I didn’t get that time in the morning, my entire day would feel off.
If you asked me during my freshman year of college what the number one thing that kept me relaxed was, I would have told you my quiet time, but I wouldn’t have really meant it. As I tried to adjust to college life, I lost sight of that part of my routine. I tried to make it a habit, but it just wasn’t working. Right around the time when I finally started to find consistency with that time again, I began to question my sexuality.
And then it felt like my quiet time was shattered.
That time in the morning had been a time a peace. It was a time where I could calmly pray, a time where I could quietly move my pen and etch thoughts into paper. I still had questions about the Bible. I am by nature an inquisitive person, and I will always have questions about the Bible. But my questions always felt more detached from myself. My emotional well-being never depended upon finding the answers. I could sip my coffee and think about big philosophical questions and then move on to my day.
But then I started to realize my attraction to other women, and my questions about my faith suddenly became intensely personal. I avoided my quiet time in the morning, because I feared what would happen if I confronted my struggles in the quietness of my own mind. I needed the white noise generated by the busyness of daily life. I needed the daily distractions to hold the feelings of fear and insecurity at bay.
One morning, during spring break of my freshman year, I wrote down four words in my journal that absolutely terrified me-
“I think I’m bisexual.”
I was on a Christian retreat with our campus ministry, and I slammed my journal closed as soon as I wrote it, as if the trees around me by the lake where I sat would see what I wrote and whisper my secret to the world.
That same week I met a girl who was also a freshman. She had a bright smile and an infectious laugh and maturity beyond her age. We were inseparable for five days, and then we returned to school and became best friends without ever looking back. I had no idea that the day I truly admitted to myself that I’m bisexual was the same day that God brought my best friend into my life. My best friend who would later be the first Christian I came out to, and then the first Christian to become my ally.
She kept me from sinking during my sophomore year. She was the friend I could go out to dinner with and admit that I was angry at God, and she’d nod and ask me if she could have one of my french fries. She was patient beyond belief as I shared all of my struggles.
Every week we would meet for dinner and she’d ask me if I’d done my quiet time yet. I’d shake my head and say that I can’t, and she’d wait another week for me. She knew how much I needed that time back, even when I didn’t recognize it myself. She knew how much I wanted to be at peace with my faith again, despite the fact that I couldn’t admit it most of the time.
I only fully got back to having my daily quiet time about a month ago. It took me nearly two years, but I’m back to those peaceful mornings. I drink my coffee and listen to music and read my Bible. But now the questions that I reflect on are often the questions that directly impact my daily life.
For the first half of college, I was living my life in fragments and I didn’t even realize it. Any piece of my life that was in conflict with my faith became detached, until my faith slowly started to become hollowed out because so many chunks of my life were missing from it. I wasn’t living out my faith. I was learning how to live around it.
You might be wondering how this all relates to the work I’m doing with our campus ministry and with Pride Alliance. The truth is that everything I’ve just written is at the heart of my work. My quiet time is what enables me to do what I’m doing every single day. It’s the reason why I can wear a rainbow bracelet to Bible study with confidence. It’s the reason I can keep my head up and my thoughts calm when Christians tell me that they disagree with my involvement in the LGBTQ community.
A lot of Christians who struggle with their sexuality have no idea how to respond, so they lock the struggle away. Now that I’m attuned to this, I see it happening all the time. I know that feeling because I’ve lived it. I lived it and I hated it.
If that’s where you’re at right now, know that you’re not the only one. There are Christians all over the place trying to rid themselves of that same feeling. The feeling of your faith and your sexuality having a full-out battle inside your head, where it seems like only one can be left standing at the end of the chaos.
This week was busy, and the fight to live out life as a bisexual Christian continues. But having that honesty with myself and my relationship with God is what keeps me going.
God knew I was bisexual all along.
The only thing that’s changed is how I’ve dealt with it, and how I’ve incorporated it into living out my faith. I’ve rediscovered my quiet time, and the entire journey of how it finally happened has been on my mind a lot this week.